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Curator Culture: Liza Lou and Congresswoman Donna Shalala

Sunday, May 17, 2020
5:00 pm
- 6:00 pm

This program is now online!

Join us for a virtual town hall with artist Liza Lou and Congresswoman Donna Shalala, moderated by Tom Healy, navigating ideas of comfort, travel and community during our current, socially-distanced realities.


Over the past 2 years, the Curator Culture series at The Bass has brought together prominent artists and leading architects, scientists, journalists and influential leaders from many fields for public conversations about fostering creativity in a complicated world. The world has suddenly become much more complicated. How do we respond to the profound economic and cultural disruptions that are unfolding during this global pandemic? What opportunities exist for new ways of solving problems and working together?

We are pleased to share this series with our community at no cost. If you can, please consider making a 100% tax deductible donation to the museum.

Suggested Donation: $5


Liza Lou (b. 1969, New York; lives and works in Los Angeles) first gained attention in 1996 when her room-sized sculpture Kitchen was shown at the New Museum in New York. Representing five years of individual labor, this groundbreaking work subverted prevalent standards of art by introducing glass beads as a fine art material. Through its slow, hand-made process, Kitchen became a monument to women whose labor has historically gone unrecognized. The project blurred the rigid boundary between fine art and craft, and established Lou’s long-standing exploration of materiality, beauty, and the valorization of labor. Working within a craft métier has led the artist to work in a variety of socially engaged settings, from community groups in Los Angeles, to a collective she founded in Durban, South Africa in 2005, to a bead embroidery collective in Mumbai, India and a women’s prison in Belém, Brazil.

Lou recently began Apartogether, a community art project founded at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to foster connection and creativity during a time of social distancing and isolation. The project began with a prompt to makers around the world to create a comfort blanket that will be displayed alongside one produced by Lou and other participating artists at the end of the quarantine. She has also begun a conversation series with numerous artists around Apartogether to foster open and honest dialogue about what it means to be an artist at a time of great loss and suffering.

Skira Rizzoli published the first comprehensive monograph of the artist’s career in 2010. Lou is the recipient of the 2013 Anonymous Was A Woman Award and the 2002 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Congresswoman Donna E. Shalala serves Florida’s 27th District in the House of Representatives as an advocate for women’s rights, civil rights, increased access to healthcare, better education and public schools, and a clean and sustainable environment. The longest-serving Secretary of Health and Human Services in U.S. history, she returns to Washington as the Representative for Florida’s 27th District, which includes the city of Miami and surrounding municipalities in Miami-Dade County.

The granddaughter of immigrants from Lebanon, Congresswoman Shalala was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her A.B. from Western College for Women and her Ph.D. from Syracuse University. A distinguished educator, she served as President of Hunter College of the City University of New York, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and President of the University of Miami. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been elected to seven national academies, including the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Education. Congresswoman Shalala has been named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report (2005), received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights (2010), was inducted into the National Woman’s Hall of Fame (2011), and has more than five dozen honorary degrees.

Tom Healy is a poet, art collector and activist. He directs the Brooklyn Conference on Art and Social Change at the Brooklyn Museum and, under President Barack Obama, he served as chairman of the international Fulbright scholars program. Tom is the author of three books of poetry.

Curator Culture is presented thanks to a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge.

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

  • Knight Foundation


Sunday, May 17, 2020
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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